NASA's Artemis I mission had a successful launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but did you know that Washington state played a crucial role in the test flight?
The Artemis program aims to bring humans back to the moon's surface and to prepare for space exploration to Mars, according to a Nov. 16 press release from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's office.
According to the press release, 42 Washington state companies contributed to the program or will contribute in the future, from seven counties including Pierce, King, Snohomish, Clallam, Cowlitz, Kitsap, and Spokane.
"Today's launch lays the groundwork for landing a woman and a person of color on the moon for the first time in history. It also shows that Washington state remains an aerospace industry leader, with workers at 42 companies from seven different counties contributing components for the Artemis missions," Cantwell stated in the press release.
Two Washington natives, Kayla Barron and Anne McClain are also being considered to visit the moon, along with 16 fellow NASA astronauts being considered for the trip by NASA.
The 42 Washington companies are assisting the Artemis program throughout various missions and projects.
In Tacoma, four companies are listed as suppliers of Artemis such as Toray Composites Material, Stellar Industrial Supply Inc., General Plastics MFG Co. and General Plastics Manufacturing Company, according to a document of NASA's Artemis supplier data on Cantwell's website.
Other companies contributing to the program are from over fifteen cities in Washington including Everett, Arlington, Seattle, Bothell, Lynnwood, Bellevue and Renton.
Fourteen of the 42 Washington companies provide "critical materials" for NASA's Orion spacecraft, the exploration vehicle that will be used to take the selected crew up to space, sustain the crew during travel, provide them safe reentry from deep space as well as provide emergency abort capabilities, according to the document.
Two Washington companies, Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond and Blue Origin in Kent are working on Gateway, "a multi-purpose outpost orbiting the moon that will provide essential support for long-term, human missions to the lunar surface and serves as a staging point for deep space exploration," the document states.